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The Last Unicorn [Paperback]

Peter S. Beagle
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.50
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Book Description

Nov. 8 2011
The 30th anniversary of a fantasy classic from Peter S. Beagle!

Frequently Bought Together

The Last Unicorn + The Neverending Story + Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure
Price For All Three: CDN$ 33.10


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Product Description

From Amazon

The Last Unicorn is one of the true classics of fantasy, ranking with Tolkien's The Hobbit, Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy, and Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Beagle writes a shimmering prose-poetry, the voice of fairy tales and childhood:

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.

The unicorn discovers that she is the last unicorn in the world, and sets off to find the others. She meets Schmendrick the Magician--whose magic seldom works, and never as he intended--when he rescues her from Mommy Fortuna's Midnight Carnival, where only some of the mythical beasts displayed are illusions. They are joined by Molly Grue, who believes in legends despite her experiences with a Robin Hood wannabe and his unmerry men. Ahead wait King Haggard and his Red Bull, who banished unicorns from the land.

This is a book no fantasy reader should miss; Beagle argues brilliantly the need for magic in our lives and the folly of forgetting to dream. --Nona Vero

About the Author

Peter S. Beagle, a World Fantasy Award nominee, is the bestselling author of the fantasy classic The Last Unicorn as well as many other highly acclaimed works. His novels and stories have been translated into sixteen languages worldwide, and his long and fascinating career has covered everything from journalism and stage adaptations to songwriting and performances. He has given readings, lectures, and concerts of his own songs from coast to coast, and has written several screenplays, including Ralph Bakshi's film version of The Lord of the Rings.

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The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real fairy tale. March 31 2004
Format:Paperback
"The Unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone..."
But when one day she overhears two hunters arguing about the existence, or not, of her kind, she starts wondering if she's indeed the last unicorn, and sets off on a quest to find others like her. Nobody believes in fairy tales anymore and everyone she meets thinks she's nothing more than a white mare. Even Mommy Fortuna, who captures her one night while she's indiscreetly sleeping on the edge of a wood, and puts her in a cage to entertain and impress customers of her Midnight Carnival, alongside other animals that the witch turns into various illusory mythical beasts. Hopefully, one of Fortuna's assistants, Schmendrick the wannabe magician, recognizes the unicorn for what she really is. He releases her, and travelling together, meeting a new companion called Molly Grue on the way, they make for King Haggard's cursed castle. There lives the terrible Red Bull, the blind, devilish creature responsible for the disappearance of the unicorns, or so they've heard.
The Last Unicorn is a real fairy tale, where everything seems to happen in a kind of ethereal, parallel reality. Beagle’s style is such that every place, every character, and every action that takes place is hard to focus on, as if it were a dream that you're trying to remember. And on the other hand, it approaches very real themes, ones you can relate to, such as finding who you are and what you want to be, or making the right choices and compromises in your life... I won't say I understood it all, but I was charmed by this deep, very poetic, and sad tale of love and magic, good and evil, by this quest for seasons of candor, when we believe in fairy tales and legendary creatures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Post-Modern Fairy Tale Jan. 21 2004
By mp
Format:Paperback
Along with the rest of the civilized world, my wandering memories often lead me back to two of my favorite childhood movies, "The Neverending Story" and "The Last Unicorn." Practically all I could remember of the latter was some skull yelling "Unicorn! Uuuunicorn!" That image and that voice have left a lingering discomfort in the back of my mind for years. A while back, I found a little time to investigate Michael Ende's novel, "The Neverending Story," and just recently, I managed to come across a copy of "The Last Unicorn," and I couldn't help but read it. In both cases, these novels have more than repayed my childhood memories, giving my adult mind philosophical and literary substance as well as real joy. Peter S. Beagle's 1968 novel, "The Last Unicorn," is much more than a simple fantasy story - though it is rife with magicians, mythical creatures, and all of the customary trappings. It is even more than a complex fantasy story - somehow Beagle enchants us into a timeless place where nothing seems unusual - "The Last Unicorn" creates a space for magic in our modern lives.
The novel begins as a unicorn overhears two hunters riding through her wood - the hunters debate whether unicorns exist anymore. The unicorn begins to wonder if indeed she is the last of her kind, and goes in search of other unicorns. She is caught sleeping by Mommy Fortuna, owner of the Midnight Carnival, who displays the unicorn for a time alongside a real harpy and a motley bunch of meek, hopeless animals who are made, through Fortuna's magic, to resemble other dangerous mythical beasts for the entertainment of travellers, tourists, and townsfolk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glowing Brilliance Nov. 14 2002
By Severa
Format:Paperback
This book is shimmering with magic and beauty. It is just as otherwordly as the fairy-tales you loved as a child, and yet it somehow more than that. It has its own mood, its own atmosphere. Somehow, it seems as though all the characters are aware of the world they live in, as real people never are. This is not a dream pretending to be real. This reality well aware that it is a dream.
The charakters are simple and yet each serves a purpose. Each is distinct and well-drawn, from the amusing Smendrick and the strong Molly the tragic Unicorn and the wrecked king Haggard. And even though you instantly "see" each character, they are all more than what they apear to be. All of them seem to have that second layer wich makes them deeper and more meaningul. They are both simple and many-layered. And all of them are tragic, and yet filled with hope.
The story is written in a language full of delightful images, with so musical lines its almost like poetry from time to time. I've never read anything quite like this book, and that is saying a lot. Scenes and sentenses keep popping back into my head, even when I'm thinking about something quite unrelated.
But the thing that really sets this book apart is that even though it is wonderfuly inreal, it feels true. It feels though the world of the unicorn is more true than the real world. It almost hurts to go back.
Go on. Buy this book. Spend a few hours in a magical dream-land. We all need some enchantment in our lives.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Unicorn May 26 2004
Format:Paperback
She is the last of the Unicorns. For centuries, she has lived within her forest, at one with nature and her surroundings. Immortal, she has been unconcerned with the fate of the other Unicorns, for surely, if they were all gone, she would know of it? But it is not the case. Feeling curiosity and doubt for the first time in many years, she sets off to find out what has happened to the other Unicorns, why humans don't even seem to see her, and just what the mysterious Red Bull is.
Beagle writes beautifully. Metaphors and similes are used with ease, and almost without exception they evoke images of verdant forest, shimmering lakes or crashing seas. Nature is a well-used tool for poetic license, and fits the theme and setting of the book perfectly.
Along the way, she meets the bumbling magician Schmendrick after being captured by a dark, evil witch, then Molly Grue next befriends her. Together the trio explore the land, venturing deep into the mean King Haggard's domain in search of the Red Bull.
Characters are either very black or very white. The Unicorn, we are told, is the most perfect, beautiful creature of all, and this lofty description is met and matched and every opportunity. We believe that she is perfect because her actions are perfect and the words to describe her are perfect. There is a sense of great sadness when she walks through a human town and is considered to be only a white mare, she cannot understand how the villagers seem unable to even see her horn.
There are mis-steps along the way, but not many. Some of the dialogue between humans is too anachronistic for my liking, and the opening to the second part of the novel in Haggard's castle dragged a little bit. A few too-clever modern day references were made as well, but really, all of these are minor.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting and Beautiful!
You can read this classic over and over again.Better than the Movie, this epic fairy tale that was one of the first to capture my heart as a child. I recommend for all ages.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring, exquisite story.
I first read The Last Unicorn when I was in my teens. The images and emotions the story evoked stayed with me. I'm thrilled to have my own personal copy now. Read more
Published 4 months ago by jenna lindsey
2.0 out of 5 stars I guess I'm too old.
I bought this book because of the rave reviews, I never read it as a child, so didn't have fond memories of the book. As it is this book really is for younger readers.
Published 6 months ago by Timberwolf
4.0 out of 5 stars As good as the cartoon
“The Last Unicorn” is a true classic of its time. The imagination and riddles surrounding the unicorns and Red Bull are wonderfully panned out. Read more
Published 6 months ago by The Reader's Hollow
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging fairy tale
I liked the writing style and the plot. I watched the cartoon as a kid and had nightmares so I wanted to read the actual story! A good read.
Published 13 months ago by Tannis
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite fairy tale
"The Last Unicorn" has been my favorite fairy tale since I was very young: I saw the movie, and then really wanted to read the original book. Read more
Published 19 months ago by G. Larouche
5.0 out of 5 stars Quest of the unicorn
Peter Beagle's "The Last Unicorn" is one of the ultimate modern fairy tales -- the magical, bittersweet story of a little unicorn's search for others of her kind. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2011 by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful tale
Wow.
After finishing reading it, that's all I can say. It follows none of the preconceived notions of "modern" fantasy, and thus felt very new to me, even though it was first... Read more
Published on July 28 2011 by al360ex
5.0 out of 5 stars Ah!
Unicorns have been my favourite "creatures" ever since I can remember...my favourite creature to ride on any merry-go-round I can find! :)
Published on April 15 2011 by Roxy
4.0 out of 5 stars A philosophical fairy tale.
Much like with my review of The Thief Lord, I had first been introduced to this story through the film version, and fell in love with it. Read more
Published on Dec 31 2010 by Ria (Bibliotropic)
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